On Saturday, marks exactly 95 years since Silvio Cator set the then long jump world record and the still-standing national record for Haiti at 7.93 meters.
At the age of 27, Silvio Cator
achieved this record in Paris on September 9, 1928, just a month after finishing second in the long jump at the Amsterdam Olympics. He took the world record away from American Edward Hammil
, who had won the Olympic gold in Amsterdam.
Cator had prepared for the Amsterdam Games in Paris, where he moved to fine-tune his form in the spring of 1928. In pre-Olympic competitions, he had already caught attention in June by jumping 7.81 meters.
Cator also competed in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932, where, he finished ninth. At the time of the Games, he was his country's Minister of Sports. Cator's silver in Amsterdam remains Haiti's last Olympic medal in all sports to date.
In May 1929, Finnish newspapers also reported that Cator had jumped a new world record of 8.00 meters in his home country. However, this record was not accepted due to unclear wind conditions.
Silvio Cator's sports career was not limited to long jump, as he also played football for the Haitian national team and had one professional boxing match in 1922.
After his sports career, Cator became the Mayor of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, in 1946. He passed away in July 1952, and later that same year, the Stade Sylvio Cator sports stadium was opened in Port-au-Prince.
In 2023, the best Haitian long jump result is 7.33 meters. Narc Narcisse
achieved 7.75 meters in 2005, but no Haitian has come closer to Cator's result from 95 years ago in the 21st century.
Despite being one of the world's poorest nations, Haiti has not been entirely insignificant in athletics in this millennium either. Dudley Dorival
won a bronze medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the World Championships
in 2001. Samyr Laine
jumped 17.39 in the triple jump in 2009 and finished 11th in the London Olympics final in 2012.
Other very old national athletics records that are still standing include Vilhjalmdur Einarsson's
Icelandic triple jump record of 16.70 meters from 1960, Peter Snell's
New Zealand 800 meters record of 1:44.3 from 1962, Taiwan's decathlon record of 8009 from 1963, and North Korea's women's 800 meters record of 1:58.0 from 1964.